As a society, we tend to be enamored with puppies and kittens. To be sure, they are adorable, playful, and fun and bring with them the promise of many years of companionship. On the other hand, they are often undeniable knuckleheads that can be destructive and a serious danger to themselves, prone to eating things that get stuck in their gut or make them sick, chewing electrical cords, and are for all intents and purposes, clueless.
On the contrary, senior dogs and cats have a dignity and wisdom about them that is etched in their gray hairs and meaningful and deep expressions. If we are fortunate to have the privilege to have healthy pets well into their senior years, there is a bond so deep with their humans that expectations are a given and words are often not even necessary to communicate.
While the love of a puppy or kitten is in your face, up close and center, the love of senior dogs and cats is no less unconditional and vibrant, but comes with a confidence that does not require demand nor statement. Merely being in the same room, exchanging glances, and enjoying one another’s routines set by years of co-existence suffices.
While the senior dog may not be able to swim, catch the Frisbee, or run like he used to, nor the senior cat climb, jump, or chase the laser pointer like he used to; they snuggle more patiently and willingly than they ever have and know you more deep and profound way than they ever have.
Senior pets require more care and special needs with regard to their health, but that is what we signed up for when we made the commitment to taking on a precious life to spend part of our life’s journey with us. For them, there is no question that they will stick with us whether we are physically able, disabled, rich, poor, or homeless; we owe them no less.
So while puppies and kittens are cute and fun, today, my tribute is to the wonderful senior pets of the world. May we all be so lucky to keep our pets well into their senior years to enjoy the privilege of the inner beauty of the senior pet.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.